Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :D Wow, I can't believe it's already January! 3 months down, only 2 left.
Before we left for outreach, our camp was struck rather hard by sicknesses of all sorts: stomach infections, kidney infections, urinary tract infections, bronchial infections, strep throat, malaria, typhoid, parasites... if it was all the same illness it could have been pin pointed to something that we may have done or neglected, but seeing as how it was all different and not everyone got the same thing and it didn't really hit until RIGHT before we left for outreach, we difinitley feel it was a spiritual attack. Sadly it was severe enough that 2 of my fellow students re-agravated pre-existing health problems that were so severe that they had to return to the States for treatment. :( Our team will not be the same without them, but we are trusting God that His plans are perfect and He would not have taken them back home unless they were needed there more than they were needed here.
I was extremely ill myself; I had no appetite and wanted to throw up anything that I did eat for days (which was the symptoms of stomach infection). And knowing my appetite, that its alarming and quite out of the ordinary (I eat more than most teen boys). Before going to the doctor, my team prayed for me. I really claimed the healing as my own, knowing that God could choose to heal me then and there, or through medicine, but I knew my God is faithful. On the way to the doc, food was actually starting to sound good in theory, but I still couldn't stomach the idea of actually eating. By the time I was called in to see the doc a few hours later, I was actually hungary! After running multiple tests on me in the lab, they could find nothing wrong with me (and I was DIEING for some chicken and fries). ;) I know back in America we tend to doubt God's ability to do miraculous healings, but I will never doubt that again. I KNOW I was sick with what a few of my other team mates had, and that was a stomach infection. And it was gone. GONE! It took a day or 2 before I could eat a normal size meal in one sitting, but that's certainly to be expected when you haven't eaten in 3 days. I just really wanted to share that amazing experience with you guys. :)
Our last 2 weeks have been on outreach to Maasai land, I week in different villages. We had a kids camp during the week for ages 3-25, and revival meetings (really just church services focusing on encouringing and uplifting) every evening for the community. We would also go on home visits in the surrounding community; encouraging, praying for people, building friendships, and sharing the love of Jesus. At one home we came accross a mother who was re-mudding her house, so we got to help her. She was worried for my health though (apparently "white people are not used to hard work and I might just fall over dead at any moment"). Lol, but I had a great time helping her as long as I did and I did try to keep helping; she had to resort to telling me that she was out of mud. The people were SO friendly and welcoming! I had a hard time leaving. I made lots of new friends who all wanted to know when I was going to come see them again. It was very sad telling them that I really wasn't sure if God was ever going to lead me back here to Africa, but if He does, I will definitley be looking them up. :D
It's so humbling to visit someone who wants to give you a present of a goat or a chicken when they live in a mud hut and dont even know how they're going to feed their own family that weekend. And to refuse a gift in that culture is absolutely rude. It really makes you think about what you value: people or possessions?
My Christmas wasn't very eventful, traveling over Christmas Eve, a small group of us had decided to go ahead of the rest of the team to prep for when everyone else came, so 3 others and I were in a new village. We just went to church and ate dinner with the pastor's family. Nothing especially "Christmas-y", but it was still a nice day. Quite honestly, with the lack of Christmas music, decorations, and the 80 degree weather we're having, it didn't even feel close to Christmas time.
Funny random moments of outreach:
- all the Westerners bursting into line dancing when someone plugged their ipod into the portable speaker.
- scaring the stink out of people as they came in the dark to wash their dishes. (heehee!)
- being told by one of my African team mates that I look like Mr. Bean (I almost punched him).
- getting a Maasai name: Nolamala; "one who gathers groups of warriors". This is hilariously ironic considering all the random marriage proposals I've gotten since being here, yet on the other hand extremely profound from a spiritual perspective. :)
- swimming accross the river because I refused to go accross the REDICULOUS "bridge", which was really just 2 trees that grew at angles and were tied together in a GIANT arch over the water.
- getting a flat tire while on our safari.
We were able to go on a safari while we were in Mara! It was AMAZING! Oh my goodness! Zebras, buffalos, wildabeast, hyeenas, elephants, giraffes, gazells, impala, dik dik, toupe, hippos, cheetahs, lions! It was crazy! The safari vehicles get SO CLOSE to the animals! It was rediculously amazing! We couldn't help poking a bit of fun at the tourists (having lived here for 3 months we consider oursleves pretty legitimately African.) We had forgotten how WHITE white people are! Seriously! We have all tanned so much! Lol. It was pretty hillarious.
After traveling all night (11pm-8am) we arrived back to our base in time for New Years. We had a Lord of the Rings marathon (how very American of us. Lol.). We also built a bonfire and chilled out under the stars.
Well, now we are leaving for our "main outreach": 6 straight weeks! I don't think I'll have any internet access durring that time, so I'm terribly sorry if I'm not able to update you durring that time.
- continued unity and creative ideas as we prepare for main outreach.
- safety and health.
- sensitivity to the Spirit and a willingness to learn and obey.
- my finger has healed up VERY nicely! :)
- God has been shaping and molding us in such amazing ways.
- I've been abnormally NOT homesick! Yay!
Thank you all so much for your love and prayers!!! :D